The council traditionally has not had a public speaking section except during public hearings, but Councilwoman Vicki Tesoro said many hearings are held in committee meetings and not attended by the public.
"We should encourage public participation," Tesoro said. The council "has an obligation to welcome and listen to our residents."
Concerns were raised about the proposal by some members of the Council's Legislation and Administration Committee, such as lengthening council meetings.
Longer meetings could result in increased costs from department heads and attorneys staying late, in addition to the possibility of "grandstanding." But speakers could be limited to three minutes and be prohibited from repeating other speakers.
According to L & A minutes, Tesoro said the Town Council is the "body of the people and should allow for them to speak. The Town Council delivers services to youth, families and seniors, ensures public satety and security, and promotes participation on boards, commissions and committees."
Other council members noted that large amounts of people may come out once in a while for hot topics, but public speaking at the Council is usually low.
Other towns such as Monroe and Westport, and Trumbull's Board of Education, offer a public speaking session, Tesoro said.
Council Chairman Carl Massaro Jr. noted that he has been discussing with the town IT department giving each council member a town email address. He added that much of the town's business involves public matters such as the budget, all ordinances, some grants and some state laws.
In the end, Council Vice Chairwoman Suzanne Testani moved to send the resolution back to committee.
"I do see that it does have merit," Testani said.